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Benefits and Harms of Pharmacologic Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in Women

Benefits and Harms of Pharmacologic Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in WomenSystematic Review: Benefits and Harms of Pharmacologic Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in Women Tatyana Shamliyan, MD, MS; Jean F. Wyman, PhD; Rema Ramakrishnan, MPH; François Sainfort, PhD; and Robert L. Kane, MD

Ann Intern Med. 2012 Apr 9.
[Epub ahead of print]

The study is a review, based on data from 94 studies that compared at least one of the medications to a placebo pill.



“The researchers estimate that for every 1,000 women who were treated with the drugs, less than 200, or 20%, achieved continence on the medications. But side effects were also common. "One of the things we report is that 50% of the women in the study stopped treatment with the drugs within one year," says researcher Robert L. Kane, MD, a professor of long-term care and aging at the University of Minnesota?s School of Public Health in Minneapolis. "Basically, it's because of side effects." The most commonly reported side effect of the drugs was dry mouth. Other common side effects included constipation, dry skin, dry eyes, and upset stomach.

The review does not make recommendations about the use of these drugs. "It turns out that it's as important to sit down with your doctor and look at the side effect pattern of the pills as it is the direct effects," Kane says, "because for the most part, a number of them basically have about the same effectiveness, but they have different patterns of side effects."

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